''Icebound,'' Patti LaBelle, and ''Mailroom'' made book news for April 14, 2000

By Matthew Flamm
Updated April 14, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

Deals to Howl About
Balto and some other worthy dogs will soon have their day. Following a heated auction, Norton has acquired Icebound, by first cousins Gay and Laney Salisbury, offering $550,000 for the true story of the 1925 dogsled trek that saved Nome, Alaska, from a diphtheria epidemic — and the Perfect Storm publisher wasn’t even the highest bidder. Agent Susan Rabiner says Norton editor in chief Starling Lawrence told her, ”We’ve been waiting for the next book with the potential of The Perfect Storm, and we think we’ve found it.” Apparently, it was the right thing to say…. Warner Books has just bought some pricey pearls — Patti’s Pearls, that is. The publisher has agreed to pay pop diva Patti LaBelle $1 million for her lessons on life, to be written with her Don’t Block the Blessings coauthor Laura Randolph Lancaster.

You’ve Got Mailroom
Now it can be told: the true story of what it’s like to work in the mailroom — by those who sure don’t work there anymore. Ghostwriter to the stars David Rensin (Tim Allen’s Don’t Stand Too Close to a Naked Ma, Chris Rock’s Rock This!) has just sold his first solo effort, The Mailroom: Big Dreams and Raw Ambition in Hollywood’s Power Boot Camp. An oral history of what it’s like to start at the bottom, the book will profile the place where Michael Ovitz, David Geffen, and Barry Diller all got their start. Ballantine VP/executive editor Peter Borland, who paid six figures for the title before it went to auction, expects to publish in 2002.